THE Federal Government said, yesterday, it has put measures in place to address rising cost of food across the country, and plans to convene a meeting of the National Food Security Council shortly.
The government also disclosed that it has lined up concrete actions to ensure the growth of some sectors of the nation’s economy that had refused to grow in recent times.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the virtual Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister said FEC approved the National Food Security Council to meet “very quickly to address the issue of food inflation, and also provide a plan and some methods in which we can reduce the cost of food to support improved food prices for the citizenry.’’
She stated further that the council was briefed about the rising inflation rate and the need to manage the cost of inflation in the country.
Besides, the minister said FEC considered a report from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the first quarter of 2022 GDP report, which showed that the economy had grown by 3.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, against a growth of 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
She said: “This growth shows a gradual economic stability from the recession that we witnessed in 2020. It also shows the six quarter of positive growth that the Nigerian economy has presented.
“So of the 46 economic activities, the bulk sector performance shows that services sector grew strongly by 4.7 per cent, agriculture also grew by 3.61 per cent, Industry on the other hand contracted by minus 6.81 per cent and there’s also a significant contraction in the crude oil, petroleum and natural gas sector of 26.04 per cent.
“We’re very mindful of the fact that unless we have most of the sectors growing especially the growth in the jobs impacted sectors, that this growth that is positive will not be directly felt by the people.
“We also reported to council that inflation has started going upward to the extent that the monetary authorities of the Central Bank have had to adjust the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 13 per cent at the last Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting and that’s an attempt to manage the cost of inflation.
“So, Council has decided to set up a special effort to look at the sectors that are not growing and also to look at how we can grow the other sectors better.”
Also briefing journalists, Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, said council approved a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for the purchase of 82 Toyota brand of vehicles, branded raincoats and sundry other accoutrements for the use of the Nigeria Police at the total cost of N8,315,209,825.
He explained that the council’s approval was a result of the initial approval for the Nigeria Police Trust Fund to award contracts for the supply of sundry accoutrements for the efficient operation of the Police.
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, said council approved the contract to supply and install emergency restoration system or 330 KV and 132KV transmission line for ongoing rehabilitation works in Lagos at the sum of $968,818 as the offshore, onshore component is N7,393 million and the contractor is Rab Power Industries Limited.”
Fielding questions on the update on the Federal Government electricity deal with Siemens of Germany, the minister explained that he had toured their facilities in Germany to ascertain the level of work in the production of the equipment and was satisfied with the spate of work so far.
According to him, despite the impact of the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war, which slowed down the process of their production, he had been able to get Siemens committed to supply 10 mobile transformers to be installed in the country by September this year.
He said works were ongoing in the country as contractors were already working on the sites to prepare grounds for the installation of the equipment. immediately they arrive the country.